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The Seventh Seal (1957)

Det sjunde inseglet (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 13 October 1958 (USA)
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writers:

Ingmar Bergman (play), Ingmar Bergman (screenplay)
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Popularity
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gunnar Björnstrand ... Jöns, squire
Bengt Ekerot ... Death
Nils Poppe ... Jof / Joseph
Max von Sydow ... Antonius Block
Bibi Andersson ... Mia / Mary - Jof's wife
Inga Gill ... Lisa, blacksmith's wife
Maud Hansson ... Witch
Inga Landgré ... Karin, Block's Wife
Gunnel Lindblom ... Girl
Bertil Anderberg ... Raval
Anders Ek ... The Monk
Åke Fridell ... Blacksmith Plog
Gunnar Olsson ... Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
Erik Strandmark Erik Strandmark ... Jonas Skat
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Storyline

A Knight and his squire are home from the crusades. Black Death is sweeping their country. As they approach home, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life. The Knight and Death play as the cultural turmoil envelopes the people around them as they try, in different ways, to deal with the upheaval the plague has caused. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A film of visual scope, of imaginative concept, of powerful content, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, twice honored by the Interational Jury at the Cannes Film Festival 1956,1957

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | Latin

Release Date:

13 October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Seal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The procession of flagellants chant the Dies Irae, a famous thirteenth century Latin hymn thought to be written by Tommaso da Celano. Before stopping in the village they chant stanzas 1-4 and the Lacrimosa, stanza 18. These are repeated as the procession departs. See more »

Goofs

The knight returning from the Crusades faces the Black Plague. The Black plague actually started in the beginning to mid 1200th century (In most non English speaking countries called 1300th century), reaching Europe in 1347, the most documented places that year and 1348 are Konstantinopel, Sicily, Genua and Avignon. See more »

Quotes

Antonius Block: Is it so terribly inconceivable to comprehend God with one's senses? Why does he hide in a cloud of half-promises and unseen miracles? How can we believe in the faithful when we lack faith? What will happen to us who want to believe, but can not? What about those who neither want to nor can believe? Why can't I kill God in me? Why does He live on in me in a humiliating way - despite my wanting to evict Him from my heart? Why is He, despite all, a mocking reality I can't be rid of?
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Muppets Go to the Movies (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Ödet Är en Rackare
Music by Erik Nordgren
Lyrics by Ingmar Bergman
Sung by Gunnar Björnstrand
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Ingmar Bergman questions the meaning of life, death, faith, and the existence of God in this masterpiece of world cinema...
1 January 2005 | by ACitizenCalledKaneSee all my reviews

Antonius Block - "Who are you?" Death - "I am Death." Antonius Block - "Have you come for me?" Death - "I have long walked by your side." Antonius Block - "So I have noticed."

The Seventh Seal, considered by some to be Ingmar Bergman's greatest achievement, is the desperate prayer of a sensitive, introspective, and insightful young man confused by the horrors of the world around him. Ingmar Bergman's films are often very deep, full of symbolism, philosophy, spirituality, emotion, and thought. The Seventh Seal is classic Bergman. Expressing his fear of life with no meaning, death with no understanding, and faith with no validity, Ingmar Bergman takes us deep into the well of his mind.

As the Black Plague ravages the world, a Antonius Block and his squire, Jons (Max Von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand, respectively), return from fighting in the Crusades. They find their homeland devastated by the plague, their countrymen mad with fear, and their cause lost. Antonius Block is confronted by Death (Bengt Ekerot). Block challenges Death to a game of chess to provide him time to seek answers to the questions that plague his mind as Death has plagued his country. Death accepts, knowing that Block cannot escape his fate, and the two begin their game. As the story continues, Block and Jons meet with several testaments to the agony that the Black Death has brought upon their land. They find a young girl who is to be burned at the stake for having been with the Devil. They find madness in the eyes of all they meet, as everyone is convinced that God is angry and is punishing the world with the plague. They also find a small group of travelling actors, who appear to be the only souls to have remained sane in the midst of all of the death and fear. Block and Jons move across the countryside in the hopes of finding safety in Block's castle, but Death is always around the corner, biding his time.

Brilliantly conceived, and stunningly executed, Bergman's vision is brought to the screen through Gunnar Fischer's powerful cinematography creating images that will likely remain with you for the rest of your life. Strong performances from everyone involved bring humanity to the film. Max Von Sydow's brave and conflicted Antonius Block matching wits with Bengt Ekerot's sinister, omnipotent Death is a microcosm of the forces at work in this breath-taking interpretation of the mortal struggle.

A masterpiece!


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